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FREE CHICO’S NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT SOURCE VOLUME 44, ISSUE 11 THURSDAY, MAY 6, 2021 CHICO.NEWSREVIEW.COM

SEASON OF

RESILIENCE North State Symphony plays on through the pandemic BY JASON CASSIDY

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CHICO ANTICIPATES FULL REOPENING FEMA HOUSING SHUTDOWN LIVE THEATER RETURNS FIG HUNTERS


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Vol. 44, Issue 11 • May 6, 2021

OPINION

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Second & Flume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Guest Comment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 This Modern World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Streetalk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

NEWSLINES

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Downstroke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 FEMA housing shutdown . . . . . . . . 8 Anticipating local economy fully reopening . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Bring Back

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FEATURE

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Fig hunting in the Sacramento Valley

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ARTS & CULTURE

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May Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Scene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Arts DEVO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Brezsny’s Astrology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

ON THE COVER: PHOTO OF NORTH STATE SYMPHONY MUSICIANS BY SESAR SANCHEZ FOR NSS PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY TINA FLYNN

Our Mission: To publish great newspapers that are successful and enduring. To create a quality work environment that encourages employees to grow professionally while respecting personal welfare. To have a positive impact on our communities and make them better places to live. Editor at large Melissa Daugherty Interim Editor Jason Cassidy Contributing Editor Evan Tuchinsky Staff Writers Ashiah Scharaga, Ken Smith Calendar Editor/Editorial Assistant Trevor Whitney

Contributors Alastair Bland, Juan-Carlos Selznick, Robert Speer Managing Art Director Tina Flynn Publications & Advertising Designers Cathy Arnold, Katelynn Mitrano, Jocelyn Parker Sales & Business Coordinator Jennifer Osa Advertising Consultant Ray Laager Distribution Lead Trevor Whitney Distribution Staff Michael Gardner, Drew Garske, Jackson Indar, Larry Smith, Bill Unger, Richard Utter, David Wyles

353 E. Second St., Chico, CA 95928 Mail PO Box 13370 Sacramento, CA 95813 Phone (530) 894-2300 Website chico.newsreview.com

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President/CEO Jeff vonKaenel Director of Nuts & Bolts Deborah Redmond Director of Dollars & Sense Miranda Hansen Accounting Staff Gus Trevino Developer John Bisignano System Support Specialist Kalin Jenkins Got a News Tip? chiconewstips@newsreview.com Post Calendar Events chico.newsreview.com/calendar Want to Advertise? cnradinfo@newsreview.com Editorial Policies: Opinions expressed in CN&R are those of the authors and not of Chico Community Publishing, Inc. Contact the editor for permission to reprint articles or other portions of the paper. CN&R is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or review materials. Email letters to cnrletters@newsreview.com. All letters received become the property of the publisher. We reserve the right to print letters in condensed form and to edit them for libel. Advertising Policies: All advertising is subject to the newspaper’s Standards of Acceptance. The advertiser and not the newspaper assumes the responsibility for the truthful content of their advertising message. CN&R is printed at PressWorks Ink on recycled newsprint. CN&R is a member of Chico Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Chico Business Association, AAN and AWN.

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OPINION

Send guest comments, 340 words maximum, to gc@newsreview.com or to 353 E. Second St., Chico, CA 95928. Please include photo & short bio.

SECOND & FLUME

EDITORIAL

Chico and the Yes Man Fcan’trecent smackdown in federal court, we help but think about the one who got

ollowing Chico City Attorney Vince Ewing’s

away. We’re referring to the former city attorney, Andrew Jared, whom the City Council conservatives fired a few months back. We can almost picture Jared in his home office reading over the transcripts of the April 23 hearing in U.S. District Court based on a complaint filed by Legal Services of Northern California. Jared pours himself a glass of cognac and takes a deep breath with the resplendent ease that comes with dodging a bullet—in this case, not having to stand up for the city’s indefensible efforts to curb homelessness. The timing of Jared’s sacking gives the appearance he was cut loose for advising elected leaders that the municipality would run afoul of the law of the land—that is, federal law—should they order the police to boot destitute people from public spaces. Such evictions began right around the time Jared left town and the city rehired Ewing, the previous conservative-majority council’s “yes man.” Ewing drafted the city’s ordinances prohibiting sitting/lying, camping and storing property in public spaces. Defenders of the laws maintain that they apply to all citizens, but in practice everyone knows they affect only those who are unsheltered. As the record shows, going back to at least 2014, the laws were created in direct response to indigent park-dwellers who were viewed as blight. Right about that time, during the recovery from the Great Recession, the region’s burgeoning homeless population overtook the budget deficit as the community’s No. 1 issue. If Jared did indeed warn the council of the city’s potential liability, as we suspect, he was right. The federal judge overseeing the case—George W. Bush appointee Morrison C. England Jr.—was crystal clear that Chico’s laws don’t pass legal muster. Citing the city code related to the three aforementioned ordinances, England pointed out that the only way a person could avoid breaking them would be “to walk 24 hours a day and [have] no personal property.” In other words, it’s impossible to live outdoors and comply with them. “So that means that you’re violating the Martin v. Boise case, which is precedent in

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this circuit,” he said. To wit, enforcing such policies violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Doing so also violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process. For years, the CN&R has warned elected leaders these laws are unconstitutional. We’re thankful LSNC has put the city on notice, and we’re fairly certain this won’t be the only action on the matter. Chico likely will face another reckoning—a class action suit for civil rights violations—and we expect it will be quite costly. In court, Ewing admitted that the laws are unconstitutional. There’s no taking that back. He offered up a weak defense, echoing the council’s narrative that indigent people refuse to access shelter beds. The message is that homelessness is a life choice—a theory that applies to so few members of the local population that it’s basically negligible. Still, we heard some serious revisionist history in the courtroom. Case in point: Ewing told the judge that open beds were taken into consideration when the laws in question were drafted. The CN&R challenges him to cite such discussions from the record. Spoiler alert: They never happened. We know this because we covered every single City Council meeting on the subject. The facts simply do not bear out the city’s take. The most glaring thread we’ll pull to unravel this bit of fiction is to point out that the few dozen shelter beds now open in Chico became available only recently—after the city began its enforcement sweeps. The city and LSNC have agreed to meet with the goal of coming to some sort of resolution, and we expect the council will be a bit more open-minded now that its actions are being scrutinized by a federal judge. That certainly would be a change from the past seven long years. In that time, the council could not be reasoned with to do the right thing. Nothing— not this newspaper’s countless editorials, not homeless advocates’ public comments and protests, not even the fact that people are literally dying in plain sight—has propelled the panel to take the legally sound and moral path forward. What shame these leaders have brought upon the community—something that can never be undone. Ω

Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor. Send submissions of 200 or fewer words to cnrletters@newsreview.com. Deadline for June print edition is May 24.

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by Melissa Daugherty m e l i s s a d @ n e w s r e v i e w. c o m

Press charges Over the short time Rob Berry has lived in Chico, I’ve seen and heard various descriptions of the guy, some of which aren’t fit for print. He is, shall we say, a controversial character. He also has a legion of followers in his social media group that mainly focuses on homelessness. For those people, he can do no wrong. Until recently, perhaps. Because for all of the divergent descriptors—“homeless hater,” “park protector,” etc.—there’s a new one that nobody with eyesight should deny: bully. I say this after watching a video of Berry assaulting a woman during a recent press conference outside of City Hall. Yes, assault. That much is unequivocal. The clip shows Berry come up from about 6 feet behind Karen Laslo, then step directly in front of her before immediately “butt bumping” her, sending the diminutive photographer backward. Thing is, Berry intended to use his rear-end to shove Laslo, who takes pictures for a local online magazine called Chico Sol. Intentional is the key word here, because deliberately applying force to another person is pretty much the textbook definition of assault. But don’t take my word for it—watch the video or, better yet, get it from the horse’s mouth. In his Facebook group, Chico First, Berry admits to doing it on purpose. In the first sentence of a long missive—titled “I have a sin to confess. Are you listening?”—he says he regrets bumping her. Regrets that he got caught perhaps, because he certainly isn’t remorseful. Indeed, he spends the rest of the write-up in justification mode—blaming Laslo, including calling her a bully. In a really disturbing part, he appears to be writing directly to her: “So you got me, Karen. I gave you what you wanted and I’m sorry for that.” Berry tries to diminish the severity of his actions by equating them with the other self-described “sins” he confesses: talking on the phone while driving and having his dog on a leash that’s too long. In a separate gag-worthy post, he laments that “old, white males are the last demographic that is fair game for all manner of abuse.” See, in Berry’s mind, he’s the victim. He was goaded. Berry references the fact that Laslo moved in front of him while he was filming. I watched his video, which is edited. At one point, it shows her walk by the camera with her hand up, presumably either to shield her face or to momentarily block his view. At another, her head comes into the frame, though it’s clear from someone else’s video—which shows another vantage point—that there’s quite a bit of space between them. That’s when he goes in for the bump. I don’t get it. It’s like the guy thinks the City Hall campus is his private property. I mean, someone could have done cartwheels in front of him at the press conference, and that would have been a perfectly acceptable use of that space. Sure, it would’ve been bad timing. And, sure, Laslo was rude. But last I checked, those things are lawful. In Berry’s initial unrepentant post, his sycophants make light of the situation. That includes a former police chief, Mike Maloney, who calls Laslo a “wench.” Few people tell Berry he was out of line, though I suspect some simply didn’t want to engage him. The quasi-apology came only after video surfaced that made it clear he was in the wrong. Point being, if he’s sorry about anything, it’s that somebody captured a full picture what happened. As for the response from his adherents, let’s just say they don’t seem as enraptured by the mea culpa. Given Berry’s history of lambasting a Chico Enterprise-Record reporter—a monthslong narrative that has been fomenting in his group and others—what he did to Laslo is a dangerous escalation. Sadly, his belligerence exemplifies the kind of hatred folks in the press have been increasingly subjected to since the start of the Trump era. After watching the video, I reached out to Chico Sol’s editor, Leslie Layton. I learned that she, too, had been shoved that day—by an unidentified man. I’ve personally been the target of death threats during my career, so I don’t take any form of violence lightly. Laslo should press charges. Making an example of Berry is the best way to send a message to others that harming journalists won’t be tolerated.


GUEST COMMENT

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY & SSI

For the love of cats with a question: “With one word, how would you Idescribe kitten season?” The responses were immedimessaged a group of my cat rescue friends the other day

ate: exhausting, bittersweet, overwhelming, frustrating, explosive, heartbreaking. One of the greatest cat foster moms I know responded with the word “war.” How could something as cute as kittens cause this kind of reaction from people who obviously love cats? It’s because every unspayed female cat in the northern hemisphere right now is either in heat, pregnant by or just gave birth to a litter of Shelly Rogers two to six kittens. And they’ll do The author, a 2017 it again at least one more time, CN&R Local Hero, volunteers with and probably even twice, before the sits on the boards weather cools down. Unneutered of Neighborhood Cat male cats can find a female cat Advocates, Friends in heat up to 2 miles away. of the Chico Animal There are many stats and Shelter and Bidwell figures to recite (one of the Wildlife Rehabilitation.

worst—half of all kittens born to feral or unowned mama cats die before their first birthday), but the upshot is that kitten season is real, and it’s the most difficult and dreaded time of year for animal rescue organizations. Nature made cats very prolific, and anyone involved in cat rescue or sheltering knows that once the weather hits 70 degrees, the phone calls start pouring in about found litters of kittens that need homes. Those calls don’t stop until winter. We can’t adopt our way out of this. We need all cats, owned and unowned, to be spayed or neutered. Butte County is pretty lucky. We have three lowcost spay/neuter clinics: Paws of Oroville, Wags & Whiskers, and Butte Humane Society; two voucher programs to help with the cost of spay/neuter surgery (PawPrints Thrift Boutique and Paws of Chico); and a trap/spay-neuter/return volunteer group for feral and unowned cats called Neighborhood Cat Advocates. Every one of those organizations is maxed out right now and will be until October. It’s fitting to close with this word to describe kitten season: preventable. If you love animals, spay Ω and neuter those felines!

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LETTERS

Send email to cnrletters@newsreview.com

Two on the burned lands Re “Climate exodus” (chico.newsreview.com): Thank you for your coverage of the fires and their aftermath. It breaks my heart to see the devastation to people who have loved this area and to our wildlife—creatures large and small—who have suffered, too. That so many have left is understandable. Moving forward, we need informed policies to return our environment to safety and balance with nature. Patricia Egan Chico

I sat on a rock that had formerly been my garden and looked down at the pile of rubble that had once been my Paradise home. I raised three wonderful kids in that house, and now the remnants of 30 years of my life lay still and quiet while 10 buzzards circle overhead. One by one, I recounted the thousand possessions I’d once shared my house with and recreated the stories of some of the more precious of the things I’d lost. Each one began with my wish to “own” such things; that is desire. From desire, I moved to acquisition; from there, I coursed to appreciation as I reveled in my relationship with each item. Now, as I sit here on a rock, tears roll down my cheeks as I say farewell to desire, to appreciation, and finally just “goodbye”—now three times heavier than ever before. I look at the buzzards, hearing the unique sounds they make. Carrion—which in English translates into “carry on.” Jim Smith Paradise

School praise I’d like to thank the Chico Unified School District teachers, staff, administrators and Board of Trustees for providing my daughter with high-quality, in-person instruction for the past six months. In the time of a global health emergency, CUSD has struck a fine balance between the imperatives of preventing the spread of a deadly disease and providing students with appropriate education. The a.m./p.m. model has allowed my daughter to be with teachers and classmates every single day. And, due to strict mask rules and class sizes at half the usual number, she has also remained at minimal risk for contracting COVID-19. During an outrageously turbulent time in our society, the a.m./p.m. model has allowed students to stay in a consistent routine that facilitates good sleeping, eating and homework patterns. I’m thankful that my daughter will be able to keep this routine for the rest of the school year. Considering the conditions of living through a pandemic, I am profoundly grateful. CUSD’s ability to reopen schools last October, 6 6

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and to keep them open and safe, should be a source of pride for the whole community. Betsy Clemente Chico

Confederacy on my block Those who fly the Confederate flag know its long history and display it with purpose and intention. It shows up at every white nationalist gathering in this country and at NASCAR race tracks (despite having been banned). I can avoid those gatherings. But, when I see it in our community, when it’s in my face, what do I do then? Do I walk past, careful not to let it bother me? Do I shield my children from seeing it or use it as an opportunity to teach them about racism? Do I engage the flag owner and try to appeal to some better angle I know does not exist? Do I confront the owner in some sort of protest? I wage this war of options in my mind and finally give in to the fact that no matter what action I choose, I give up part of myself in the process. If I pass, I emasculate myself, while confrontation carries its own set of risky consequences. Sadly, I am left with the realization that it is easier for this person to be a racist than it is for me to deal with it. Raymond Rodriguez Corning

Gun-demic I just read an editorial that indicated we just need to get used to mass shootings as this is simply an American cultural aspect of the broad freedoms we have in this country. It indicated gun violence is now in “epidemic” mode and is unlikely to slow down much in the future as Congress is not interested in doing much to stop it. So, I thought, “Wait! This is America and we can overcome anything.” What about COVID? We were exposed, found cures and vaccines, and in the meantime practiced social distancing and wore masks. Why not apply the same logic? Ask the drug companies to develop vaccines to quell the urge to go into a mall and kill a lot of shoppers and, in the meantime, require we all wear bulletproof vests and helmets when we go out of our houses to work, shop, recreate or attend entertainment/sporting events. It seems pretty simple to me. Hey, Doug LaMalfa, what do you think? Dean Carrier Eureka

Write a letter Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor. Send submissions of 200 or fewer words to cnrletters@newsreview.com. Deadline for June print publication is May 24.


STREETALK

Are you doing any gardening this spring? Asked in downtown Chico

Debby Adema registered nurse

Oh my gosh, yes. I have a massive garden and there are just two of us. We’re growing six varieties of lettuce—and we can already have a salad out of that—[and] beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes and tomatoes and tomatoes.

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I’m not, no. But my mom has a fat garden with a whole bunch of stuff. I’m not good at that. If I could grow something, it would be bell peppers and onion.

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David Halimi small business owner

No. I would grow tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant. I never had the time to do it, but I could see how it could be fun and relaxing. I definitely enjoy having organic vegetables.

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Isabella Stewart artist

Yes, I am. I’m growing a ton of herbs and sweet peas and cucumbers and tomatoes. I haven’t had a garden in six years. It’s a beautiful garden—if I had a picture, I would give it to you.

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NEWSLINES DOWNSTROKE THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

The Chico History Museum re-opened to the public last Saturday (May 1) after being closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the current exhibits is a piece of recently resurfaced Chico history long thought lost to the streams of time: a giant wooden trout known as “Old Brownie.” The fish (pictured) hung over the entryway of Barth’s Spotting Goods, formerly located at 128 Broadway Street, for several decades and remained there after the store closed. At one point, the fish was threatened by a local sign ordinance, but in 1981, the Chico Planning Commission and City Council took measures to have it declared historical and exempt from removal. Then, in 1986, it mysteriously disappeared. Now that the fish has been found, the museum will remain Old Brownie’s permanent home. The museum is also offering recreated Barth’s Sporting Goods merchandise for a limited time. The Chico History Museum is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Covid safety measures, such as guests wearing facial coverings and maintaining social distancing, are in effect. For more information, go to chicohistory museum.com or call 891-4336.

Out of time

DON’T TREAD ON THEM

As temperatures rise, so does the prevalence of rattlesnakes in Bidwell Park. A press release from the City of Chico’s Public Works Department – Parks Division notes that rattlesnakes are a beneficial, natural part of the park and that they generally avoid contact with people or animals unless cornered or threatened. Nonetheless, all park visitors should use caution and follow some tips to avoid bad encounters: • Wear hiking boots. • Stay on designated trails. • Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush. • Look ahead on the trail. • Avoid stepping or putting your hands where you cannot see. • Hike with a companion. • Know that freshly killed snakes can still inject venom. The California Department of Fish and Game offers more tips, such as never grab “sticks” or “branches” in lakes and rivers because rattlesnakes can swim. If bitten by a rattlesnake, call 911 and seek immediate medical attention. For more information, contact the Parks Division at 896-7800 or parkinfo@chicoca.gov. 8

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Camp Fire survivors at FEMA villages facing rent, closures and nowhere to go by

Ashiah Scharaga as h i a h s @ new srev i ew. c o m

D “Italkswasabout her old home in Concow. a collector of many fine things,” ianna Franklyn gets wistful when she

she said. Franklyn, who’s 73, went on to describe the coin collection she inherited from her father and the Purple Heart her late brother received for his service during the Vietnam War. Now, it’s all ashes. Like many Camp Fire survivors, Franklyn moved around after her home was destroyed in the deadly 2018 blaze, staying at multiple shelters and then at a motel in Orland. Franklyn’s escape left her not only with emotional trauma but also physical burns. To this day, she feels unmoored by the loss of her community, her home and all traces of her family’s history. “My lifeline is gone,” Franklyn said. “Like [I] wasn’t there.”

Most recently, she settled into a mobile unit in the monochrome world of a Federal Emergency Management Agency housing development in Gridley. Many Camp Fire survivors—particularly low-income renters or those on fixed incomes, like Franklyn—wound up there after finding it next to impossible to secure an affordable place to live in a region that lost 14,000 homes overnight. They couldn’t compete with well-insured survivors in the tight market immediately following the fire, nor has it been any easier amid today’s seemingly ever-increasing prices. Of the 684 households placed into FEMA housing in Butte County as a result of California’s deadliest wildfire on record, 77 remain in such locations. Now they’re running out of time. FEMA is permanently closing its disaster housing on Sept. 13, and


MAY IS LYME AWARENESS MONTH FEMA’s Gridley Camp Fire community, located at the Gridley Industrial Park. PHOTO COURTESY OF FEMA

as the agency winds things down, it will start charging rent as of June l. The rent rates are set according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development fair market value, but these prices are not necessarily affordable. According to data for Butte County in 2021, prices range from roughly $900 for one-bedroom to $2,064 for four bedrooms. Residents can appeal by providing documentation that they do not have the financial ability to pay, but they will continue to accrue rent until the appeal is processed. Franklyn’s proposed rent—$894 a month—poses a financial hardship, she said. She’s worried, telling the CN&R she has nowhere to turn for help. Though Franklyn was a homeowner, she was uninsured and her property in Concow poses construction challenges. She’s tried to secure an RV, but every lead has fallen through. “I’m tired. All I want to do is go home,” she said. “I’m thankful for everything I’ve got, but I’m one who is slipping through the cracks.” Lynne Spencer, who has been assisting Camp Fire survivors at the Butte Wildfires Distribution Center in downtown Gridley

Dianna Franklyn says the rent that FEMA will begin charging her next month is a financial hardship and that she feels helpless about her next steps. PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA

since November 2018, has heard countless stories from survivors in the same position. Many have told her that they will be living in their cars once the FEMA community closes. “You can just feel their anguish,” she said. “[People] say, ‘It’s been two years, [that] they should be all settled.’ But, the thing is, we’ve never had a fire like this before. We’ve never had so much loss.”

Significant barriers FEMA spokesman Robert Barker said that from the time survivors enter their temporary housing units, the federal agency requires them to work with a case manager and show that they are making progress toward securing permanent housing in order to stay. “FEMA continues to work closely with [the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services], local officials and volunteers to help the remaining families find a permanent housing solution. Disaster case managers are also working one-on-one with these families to help connect them to available resources and assist in executing their personalized disaster recovery plan,” he wrote via email. The federal agency originally planned to shut down all Camp Fire housing locations this month. However, Shelby Boston, director of the Butte County Department of Employment and Social Services, advocated for an extension. FEMA granted the county four additional months and “has been very clear—that’s it,” she told the CN&R. NEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D

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NEWSLINES

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Boston is concerned about what’s going to happen over the coming months. Not everybody is going to be ready or able to find housing, she said, and some likely will turn to their cars or RVs because they have nowhere else to go. “That’s the worst-case scenario. That is absolutely not what the county wants to see happen to any of these folks,” she said. While FEMA is the primary lead on housing those individuals, Boston said, the county began doing targeted outreach to the remaining occupants ahead of the original May closure deadline, sending out physical mailers and making phone calls. Her team, which provides disaster case management services via a contract with AmeriCorps (which expires June 30), noted that significant barriers to securing affordable housing include insufficient income and lack of credit history. Many have been holding out for a PG&E settlement payout, she added. Occupants are allowed to purchase their units, but that option is fraught with challenges. 10

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For starters, the homes will be sold at fair market value, a likely insurmountable obstacle for those with little means. Additionally, units do not meet wildland-urban interface fire safety standards, according to Butte County Deputy Administrative Officer Casey Hatcher. This means they can be treated only as temporary housing in 95 percent of the burn scar. Come mid-September, whatever housing units are not sold to occupants—or donated to governmental entities or volunteer organizations— will be auctioned off.

‘Very disheartening’ In Gridley, Spencer at the Butte Wildfires Distribution Center is still

serving some of the same Camp Fire survivors who have been coming since the immediate aftermath of the disaster. She has grown close with them over the years. Spencer fears that her friends and neighbors will become homeless in the coming months as FEMA prepares to close its development. The housing market has been competitive in Gridley, she said. Homes are being completed, but they go fast. Meanwhile, rents have skyrocketed. Spencer referenced a family that can no longer afford today’s rental prices despite having maintained their employment throughout multiple disasters (the fire and then the pandemic). They went from paying $800 a month in

“I’m tired. All I want to do is go home. I’m thankful for everything I’ve got, but I’m one who is slipping through the cracks.” —Dianna Franklyn, FEMA Camp Fire housing resident

Left: Lynne Spencer holds a box of fresh food and produce at the Butte Wildfires Distribution Center in downtown Gridley, where fire survivors have sought basic necessities since November 2018.

Above: Cecelia Huffman lived in Paradise more than 30 years before losing everything in the Camp Fire. She regularly visits the Butte Wildfires Distribution Center and says she’d go hungry without it’s vital services.

PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA

PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA

Paradise to being quoted double that amount for similar units. This is the case for a lot of people she has met, Spencer said. “That’s when it hurts in your heart, when you realize they may not have a home in a few months,” she said. Spencer said that the center will stay open as long as there is a need. For now, it’s scheduled to continue operating through July, at which point her team will re-evaluate. “We don’t want to leave them hanging,” she said. For Cecelia Huffman, a regular at the distribution center, the services there have been vital, particularly the food, which has kept her from going hungry on her limited income. She recently secured housing, but it was far from easy. Huffman, who is 65 and disabled, lived in a FEMA community for nearly a year and a half. During that time, she constantly searched for an affordable place to live. Though approved for Section 8 housing, she was unable to find anything before her voucher expired, she said. Among the barriers: poor rental history, limited income and high monthly credit card bills. “Property owners didn’t like my numbers,” she said. “Everything has

counted against us survivors on getting out, and there’s so many people applying for the same places. It’s not easy for sure, and at times it’s very disheartening.” Eventually, Huffman received rental assistance and moving help from the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) and Northern Valley Catholic Social Service. She now resides in a CHIP senior housing development in Gridley. If it wasn’t for the help of those organizations, Huffman said, she’d still be in the FEMA development. “It wasn’t by choice that I was there,” she told the CN&R. Huffman is still adjusting to her new home. She said it’s difficult to feel a sense of peace and stability after living in transition for so long. Plus, Paradise was her home for 34 years and where she raised her kids. She misses her town, but also feels that it’ll never be the same for her. “I feel thankful. There’s a lot of people who didn’t get near the help I got,” she said. “I’m just happy to have a place. It feels like this is temΩ porary. But you never know.” MORE

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‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ Chico businesses anticipate reopening of California economy June 15 story and photos by

Evan Tuchinsky

evant@ n ewsrev iew.c om

Ievery a brunch and lunch crowd, yet table at La Hacienda on

t’s Sunday at noon, prime time for

a recent weekend sits empty. Co-owner Michelle Sereda is the sole person on the premises, unlocking the front door only to admit a visitor. Revised hours of operation indicate the restaurant is closed for the day. This isn’t because patrons have abandoned La Hacienda during the COVID-19 pandemic; Sereda says business has been brisk as of late. In fact, the establishment, in its 73rd year serving Mexican food to Chicoans, has more demand than it can accommodate—and therein lies the problem.

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The initial wave of Covid restrictions forced restaurants to stop serving diners indoors and modify takeout to curbside pickup and delivery. At La Hacienda, that cut business 75 percent and led its three employee-owners to reduce staffing. The state relaxed rules to permit half-capacity indoor dining as well as patio service, but as many businesses clamor to hire, the restaurant’s owners have only been able to secure 21 workers, less than half of the pre-Covid total of 56 employees. As a result, La Hacienda isn’t open Sundays and Mondays, has put bar seating on hold and is running at about 25 percent of its overall capacity. “We’d love to get back

to seven days a week and normal hours,” Sereda said, “but we have to sleep some time.” She’s hoping that normalcy happens by June 15, the date Gov. Gavin Newsom has targeted for fully reopening California’s economy. Sereda echoed other Chico business owners and leaders in calling that “the light at the end of the tunnel.” Despite their experience with previous rollbacks of pandemic

restrictions, which the state reversed when cases re-surged, they’re optimistic this time due to progress in vaccinating residents—locally and statewide—against Covid. Nonetheless, wider reopening will require adjustments. “I think the expectation of the customer is it’s like a light switch you turn on and everything is back to normal,” Sereda said. “Unfortunately, we’ve been shut down for a year, so it’s a slow build-up.”

Optimism guarded Newsom announced last month that California will ditch the Blueprint for a Safer Economy—and its system of tiers—and reopen fully June 15 provided the vaccine supply remains sufficient to

inoculate anyone at least 16 years old and hospitalizations remain “stable and low.” Face coverings will remain mandatory. Katy Thoma, president and CEO of the Chico Chamber of Commerce, told the CN&R that “there’s a sense of relief” among local businesses about the reopening—“so long as we can keep our numbers down.” As of Monday afternoon (May 3), Butte County Public Health had reported 11,660 cases, including 182 deaths, since March 2020 and 12 patients currently hospitalized. Much of California, including Butte County, is in the state’s orange tier—indicating a case rate of 1 to 3.9 per 100,000 residents and a test-positivity rate of 4.9 percent or less—and 35 percent of county residents have been vaccinated at least partially, 28 percent fully.


La Hacienda co-owner Michelle Sereda is trying to ramp up staffing in anticipation of California reopening on June 15.

Still, since entering the orange tier on March 31, the county has experienced a bump in cases, with infection numbers breaking 100 per week four times in five weeks after going a full month below that threshold. “If you notice, people aren’t wearing their masks as readily as they were, even walking downtown when there’s lots of people around,” Thoma continued. “We’ve got a lot of people vaccinated now—we’re moving in a really positive direction—so I think people are feeling bolder and more secure, which is great. But they still need to know they need to continue to wear a mask and socially distance where required.” Melanie Bassett, executive director of the Downtown Chico Business Association, shares that safeguarded optimism. After shuttering events that bring the public downtown, the DCBA is bringing back—later in spring than usual—Thursday Night Market today (May 6) and Friday Night Concerts on May 28. “People are very much looking forward to it and very much embracing things opening up,” she said by phone. “I think people are really needing connection, and they’re very excited about that date [June 15] and getting prepared for it. I’m hearing enthusiasm; I don’t know that I’ve heard anything negative. “There are still folks that are concerned about safety. We are, too—that’s why we didn’t hold any events last year at all. We’re intending to follow the guidelines for whatever [mandates are] in place … and encourage people to be courteous and appropriate.”

Katy Thoma, president and CEO of the Chico Chamber of Commerce, stresses diligence with COVID-19 protocols in order to keep the local economy moving in a positive direction.

Financial life jackets The DCBA itself is an example of pandemic resilience. Bassett said the organization “came close to closing our doors” and has downsized dramatically. Staff is down from five to two; and the office has moved to a “small but serviceable” shared space adjacent to Kirk’s Jewelry. Likewise, Sereda said La Hacienda verged on closure several times during the height of restrictions. She and fellow owners Margarita Vega and Javier Partida—all with at least 20 years’ tenure at the restaurant—felt heartbroken at the prospect. “You definitely don’t want to be the end of the generations,” Sereda said. “We’d like to see it go on another 70 years. That’s all of our main objective, and hopefully our children will want to take it over so it will remain a family long-term establishment.” Chelsea Irvine, community resource manager at the three-county economic development district 3Core, told the CN&R by phone that businesses have myriad means of support. These include grants from government entities and nonprofits; low-interest and forgivable loans; and expertise from agencies such as hers, the Small Business Development Center, Alliance for Workforce Development, North State Planning and Development Collective, and SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). The North Valley Community Foundation granted more than $1 million so far to bolster local businesses thanks in large part to NFL quarterback and recent Jeopardy! guest host Aaron Rodgers. The Butte Business Stabilization Grant, approved by county supervisors, infused $4.7 million. 3Core is administering locally the California Relief Grant, which to date has brought $2.6 million to Butte County; the application period for the NEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D

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Christian & Johnson owner Melissa Heringer has seen increased interest in special events as more people in the area get COVID-19 vaccinations.

final round of granting closed Tuesday. Meanwhile, on top of payroll protection (PPP) and Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, owners of shuttered arts/entertainment venues and restaurants are about to get sector-specific opportunities from the SBA: the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. “There’s all these funding sources around,” Irvine said. “With the reopening on June 15, that’s giving businesses more hope. But I think the county being forward-thinking in putting together that [stabilization] grant program, that’s when businesses were [thinking] realistically it’s a year of ‘Can we make it?’— and those $15,000 [to] $25,000 grants were the bridge that got them through.”

Bouncing back Business at Christian & Johnson Flowers and Gifts slowed during the peak of the pandemic but never stopped. That’s because the state classified agriculture as an essential sector of the economy, and as an ag-product outlet, the florist stayed open for deliveries and curbside pickup. In 2018, Christian & Johnson relocated from its longtime location on Vallombrosa Avenue to a corner store on East First Avenue, where owner Melissa Heringer enjoyed an uptick in shoppers after the move. Closing the doors to in-person business halted that momentum, but the demand for floral arrangements remained high enough that she retained her entire crew. Restrictions eased last fall, permitting customers back inside. “Foot traffic was definitely down, because people still weren’t out and about doing shop-

Resources available:

Local business owners can access loans, grants and other support from 3Core, the economic development district that includes Butte County. Visit 3coreedc.org or call 893-8732.

ping like they normally would,” Heringer said. “We have noticed, just in the last month or two, as people have gotten vaccinated and things have started to open up a little bit more, things are definitely feeling like they’re getting back to normal as far as foot traffic goes. “I feel very optimistic,” she continued. “I’ve had quite a few brides call for consultations. We’re seeing events start to happen again. We’ve even gotten to do events that are out of town. I think people are ready to get back to life as usual, pre-pandemic lifestyles.” Thoma said retail businesses, such as Christian & Johnson, may face less of a ramping-up process than restaurants. An eatery will need to make significant changes to increase capacity from 50 percent to 100 percent, while stores rarely—if ever—encounter 100 percent occupancy. Challenging all sectors, though, is staffing. In Butte County, Help Wanted signs and ads abound. The business owners and organizations cite various factors for the scarce job pool: predominantly, supplements to unemployment benefits (which expire Sept. 4); a shrunken college-student population due to Chico State’s remote instruction; and Covidrelated health concerns about interacting with the public. Some employers dangle hiring bonuses, as much as $1,000, for entry-level positions. “Business owners are so desperate to get workers,” Thoma said. “It’s very competitive.” La Hacienda, which typically employs college students as servers, has received an inordinate number of applications from high school students—and Sereda said many adult applicants fail to show for interviews. Nonetheless, the restaurant’s owners approach June 15 with “more hope now,” Sereda said, adding this message to customers: Ω “Be patient. We’ll get there.”

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by

COLLECTOR’S W

Paradise

How the Sacramento Valley became the epicenter of the modern fig-hunting craze

Alastair Bland

hile driving north toward Oroville for a Feather River salmon fishing trip with my family in August of 2003, a voluminous tree beside Highway 70 caught my eye. “A fig tree!” I called from the backseat of my parents’ car. My dad pulled over, and we walked back to the barn-size landmark and filled bags with small, brown-skinned figs, so ripe they were bursting open. I was 24 at the time and had recently taken an interest in roadside foraging, and I was particularly excited about figs. I had grown up occasionally eating the Black Mission figs from my grandparents’ tree in Redding, but I’d never thought much of this fruit until I was in my early 20s.

The Ericksons—clockwise from left: Emilia, Chad, Ronin, Logan, Scarlett, Colin and Stump the dog—stand before their partially built home in Concow. PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA

About the author:

He is a longtime CN&R contributor who writes about the environment, agriculture, science and food.

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That’s when I took up cycling, and on long rides, I noticed fig trees along roadsides in the Bay Area, the Delta and the Sacramento Valley. I began coming home to San Francisco with bags of figs of many colors, shapes and sizes. I dried the fruits, cooked them into chutney, brewed them into beer, and simply feasted on them. One autumn, I spent seven weeks cycling around California, eating almost nothing but figs. My fascination drew me to Europe and Turkey, where fig trees grow in mind-blowing multitudes. They line the roadways, overtake abandoned villages, and seem to spill out of stone bridges and castle walls. Year after year, always in fig season, I bicycled in almost every nation between Gibraltar and the Caspian basin. I pedaled over mountains, deserts and islands, looking the whole way for the next fig tree. I was, and remain, quite obsessed with figs—and it turns out I’m not alone. Across the nation, and the world, a community of fig-crazed gardeners has emerged in recent years. Doug Scofield, of Thermalito, is one of these fanatics. Almost anytime he drives someplace, he eyes the vegetation beside the road looking for the distinctive foliage, scattered shades of green, large leaves and sweeping branches of a fig tree. While kayaking, too, he scans the riverbanks. “They’re always going to be where there’s a water source,” he said. When he finds a tree bearing high-quality figs, Scofield clips off a few branches and brings them home, where the cuttings are easily rooted in pots. In a few months, miniature clones of the original tree are growing in his yard, and by year two or three, they begin producing fruit. Scofield’s interest in figs goes back just eight years, but in that time, he has planted his 2-acre property with an astounding 700 fig trees, most of different varieties. Threehundred are planted in the ground, while the rest grow in pots. He will freeze-dry this year’s crop for storage and also may market some commercially. Meanwhile, Scofield has been taking notes on each variety’s virtues and flaws, aiming to weed out the underwhelming ones. He prunes his trees to keep them small, giving away the wood for propagation. There is no shortage of takers. While people have loved figs for millennia, social media—especially a number of Facebook sites and a forum called OurFigs (ourfigs.com)—has amped-up the excitement while creating a hub for exchanging branch cuttings, the common currency of fig collectors. Scofield says he prefers sharing material, while others cash in on the excitement. At Figbid.com, a single fig twig, depending on the variety, can sell for anywhere from $5 to hundreds of dollars.

Naturally, the high demand fuels greed, and fraud.

Scammers prowl internet auction sites, selling mislabeled cuttings at through-the-roof prices. Thieves lurk among the trees, too. Multiple times, people have trespassed onto Scofield’s property and made away with valuable trees or their branches. Now, Scofield labels his trees with numeric codes to thwart any prospective fig thieves. Other collectors protect their trees with barbed wire fences and security cameras. Shadows of controversy shroud the online chat forums, too, cast by disagreements over varietal origins. Sometimes, trees of an established variety are “discovered” and treated as seedlings. They are given attractive new names and marketed as novel finds, generating hype and heavy cash flow, and buyFar left: The author stands beneath a very old fig tree growing among the ancient ruins of Troy, in Turkey. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALASTAIR BLAND

An ensemble of figs collected by the author while cycling in Greece. PHOTO BY ALASTAIR BLAND

The Angelito fig was discovered near Oroville and is said to be among the best tasting figs in the world. PHOTO BY DOUG SCOFIELD

ers may unwittingly wind up with an extra of something they already have. Such renaming happens often, intentionally and accidentally, and it always has. The ancient Kadota fig is also called Dottato. The Black Mission fig was called Franciscana in Spain prior to its global conquest, and the Calimyrna—a staple of California’s industry—is simply Turkey’s Lob Injir relabeled for a new audience. According to Ira Condit, a fig researcher of the mid20th century, the Brown Turkey fig has had more than a dozen synonyms. Yet another prized heirloom variety, with mottled green-brown skin and strawberry-jam flesh, is believed to have originated long ago from a seed in the rocky soils of Croatia. Someone brought it to Louisiana decades ago. Its papers, so to speak, got lost, and today it circulates under the humble label of Smith. The Smith fig, in fact, is one of my latest acquisitions. It arrived in my mailbox through a trade with a grower near San Jose. I’ve personally sold cuttings on FigBid but have found it more rewarding to give and receive—exactly how I have grown my own fig tree collection from about 25 varieties a year ago to 75 now. More will come. The hobby can escalate out of control. In this niche community, many a driveway and patio has become clogged with black plastic pots containing some fig variety or another. Squeezed by limited space,

many growers graft numerous varieties onto single trees—which they call “Frankenfigs”—and as soon as photos and positive reviews of a new variety appear on the forums, they scramble to get it.

As often as not, it seems, the

next great fig emerges from California. Scores of new varieties— perhaps hundreds—have been discovered in the past decade alone in the state’s woodlands and creek canyons. In places like the Sacramento River basin, figs grow rampantly. They are treated as an invasive species by government roadway and watershed managers, and conservationists have decried their tendency to choke out native plants from riparian zones. But for advocates, the fig’s proliferation has made the landscape a brighter place. “It’s a big treasure hunt,” says Red Bluff fig buff David Burke, who has enjoyed figs all his life but became fascinated by the species about four years ago. Burke, who sells cuttings and fig culinary products under his brand “The Fig Hunter,” has created a map of California pinned with the locations of more than 1,000 roadside or riverbed figs. Most of his finds are from the Sacramento Valley, though he has found figs growing near Fort Bragg, at high elevation in the Mendocino Coast Range, and in Southern California. “We found one outside the hotel

Thermalito-based fig enthusiast Doug Scofield takes a clipping from a tree. PHOTO COURTESY OF DOUG SCOFIELD

at Disneyland,” he said. Many of these fig discoveries are wild trees—and this is significant. That’s because a tree that sprouts from seed is a product of sexual reproduction and, therefore, genetically unique and probably growing nowhere else. Seedlings tend to be easily identified simply by where, or how, they’re growing. A fig rooted in a cliff wall, a ditch, a thicket of poison oak, under a bridge or in a creek bottom is almost certainly a wild tree, sprouted from a stray seed. Most such figs bear mediocre or downright inedible fruit—but often enough, a star is born. The Yolo Bypass fig—greenskinned with dazzling, blackberryred pulp inside—was found several years ago on the floodplains west of Sacramento. Cherry Cordial came from a private yard in Southern California, where it sprouted beside a palm tree. Raspberry Cream came from the flank of Table Mountain, east of Oroville; Holy Smokes from a Santa Barbara churchyard; and Crema di Mora from a roadside ditch near Chico. These figs and others join a vast ensemble of fig cultivars old and new from Eurasia and north Africa, where collectors similarly browse the river valleys and cliff faces for new prizes. FIGS C O N T I N U E D

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The common fig, or Ficus carica, is

native to the Middle East, where scientists believe it was the very first plant species cultivated by early farmers of the Neolithic age, more than 11,000 years ago. Over the millennia that followed, the species spread outward in all directions, becoming essentially naturalized, if not technically native, throughout the Mediterranean and Caspian basins and eastward toward Afghanistan. The fig came to the New World as horticultural baggage of the Spanish and Portuguese, and the species made its way across the continent with the missionaries. Fig trees reportedly arrived in California in 1769. For the next century, the trees—mostly of a few varieties, including the ubiquitous Black Mission—were confined to farms, private gardens and mission churchyards. Then, near the end of the 19th century, something remarkable happened: Fresno-area farmers planted Turkish fig varieties in the hope of launching a competitive dried fig industry. However, the trees’ fruits failed to ripen year after year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture investigated. The agency’s scientists conducted some studies, took some cruises to the Mediterranean, and in the late1890s solved the mystery. Turns out certain fig varieties, such as those then planted around Fresno, require pollination—plus the presence of nearby hermaphroditic fig trees, called caprifigs, which produce pollen—in order to produce ripe fruit. So, the agency intentionally introduced fig wasps and caprifigs into the San Joaquin Valley, and by the turn of the century, the region’s Turkish fig orchards were producing heavy crops of ripe fruit. The effort was successful, but it had an unforeseen consequence: Because fig pollination, also called caprification, makes fig seeds fertile, the introduction of the wasp to California allowed the state’s fig trees to sexually reproduce. Seedlings began sprouting as they do in the Old World—that is, almost everywhere.

The author takes cuttings from a wild fig tree in Northern California. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALASTAIR BLAND

Fig trees sprung from sidewalk cracks, rubble, irrigation ditches, creek gullies, suburban yards, hollows in other trees and, perhaps more than anywhere else in the state, the fertile, moist soils of the Sacramento River valley. “We have these huge thickets of figs out here,” Scofield said. He browses these Ficus jungles regularly during the fruiting season—what he calls “fig safaris.” His grandkids sometimes join his scouting expeditions, and Scofield says they’ve become adept at spotting trees in the distance. “They’ll shout, ‘Papa! There’s a fig tree!’” he said.

Scofield guesses that just one wild fig in

a thousand will produce fruit worth noting on social media, but he has found several. A few years ago, he came across a wild fig tree laden with plump green fruits with jammy, berryred pulp inside. He named it Thermalito, and it has since become a collector’s item. More recently, Scofield found a fig that he swears is the best fruit he has ever tasted. He named the fig Angelito, and he mailed cuttings to just one other grower, Eric Durtschi, a fig collector who lives in the suburbs of Santa Barbara. Durtschi became interested in figs back in the summer of 2018, and in barely two years, he acquired 800 fig varieties—a collection he has since halved. “I tend to go all-in when I try something new,” he said, noting that he previously FIGS C O N T I N U E D

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focused his gardening science on blackberries, corn and other common backyard crops. Brian Melton, in Fresno, has about 400 varieties on his property, and Rigo Amador, a collector in Florida who helped launch a site called Fig Database (figdatabase. com), says he has cataloged roughly a thousand genetically unique figs growing in the world’s collections, and there are almost certainly thousands more. So prolific are private collectors that they have outpaced even government germplasm collection programs. The UC Davis-USDA Wolfskill Experimental Orchard, near Winters, used to be regarded among hobbyist fruit growers as the bearer of the torch when it comes to rare figs. The facility still serves as a gene bank for many tree fruit species, but its 300-something fig varieties, many acquired through A young Turk enjoys the shade of a huge fig tree near Turkey’s Aegean coast. PHOTO BY ALASTAIR BLAND

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labor-intensive expeditions to Albania, Georgia and Azerbaijan, represent just a fraction of the Ficus carica gene pool.

The proliferation of new varieties

on the market has, in some opinions, blown out of control. By some estimates, a new variety is introduced almost once a week during fig season. “All these new, terrific figs keep coming along, but if you’re chasing new seedlings, you can’t keep up,” said Gary Pennington, a gardener and fig collector in western Sonoma County. Pennington has focused his collecting mainly on established varieties, grown for centuries in Europe. Nearby, in Sebastopol, Achilles Stravoravdis is building a backyard fig library oriented toward berry-flavored varieties. Bassem Samaan, a Pennsylvania collector and owner of the Trees of Joy online nursery, is known for his assembly of Middle Eastern figs.

Durtschi says he particularly enjoys growing—and tasting—California seedling figs, though he shops overseas, too. He once spent $600 for a small copy of a tree called Cessac, found a few years ago growing from the crumbling ruins of a French castle (a classic European example of fig wasp progeny). Such expenses may even out; Durtschi says he once sold a Boysenberry Blush fig tree for $1,025. Superstar status is generally short-lived for any fig variety. The Swiss fig called Ponte Tresa became so hotly sought after five or six years ago after a few photos of its dripping red interior floated across the internet that the mother tree was hacked apart by enthusiasts who wanted a piece of it. The fervor cooled as copies of the tree circulated and spread, and today Ponte Tresa is relatively commonplace. Some collectors have even said it was, after so much fuss, overrated.

A well-known passage in the

Bible calls for prosperous men to sit beneath their own fig tree. I often think of this as I walk among my own trees, for nearly all are less than 3 feet tall. But figs grow quickly, and even this summer, I expect my small trees to reach head-height and bear a substantial crop. “What are you going to do with them all?” a neighbor asked. “I can eat a lot of figs,” I said. I have about 30 small trees in the ground, and while I certainly don’t need many more, it sounds like the Angelito fig is a must-have. Durtschi recently told me that a fig called Colonel Littman’s Black Cross is perhaps the best he’s tasted. It, too, is now on my wish list. Other varieties will arrive unexpectedly, I know. A neighbor fig grower recently invited me over to collect some extra trees. I drove over and filled my car with eight potted trees, including the highly regarded Genovese Nero, Hative d’Argenteuil and LSU Tiger. “Where does it stop?!” I recently wrote to a trader as we negotiated an exchange. “It never ends,” he replied. Ω


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CN&R

21


Arts &Culture

REECE THOMPSON: Live set by the local singer/songwriter.

Reservations via the pub website are recommended due to seating limitations. Sat, 5/8, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130. thealliespub.com

SUN9 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: See Fri, May 7. Sun, 5/9, 2pm. $25. 530-891-3090. inspirechico.org

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

ZACHARY SEIFERT-PONCE: Guitar music from local musician. Sun, 5/9, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com

May 7-9 (streaming online)

TUE11

Inspire School of Arts & Sciences

FORK IN THE ROAD: Food trucks rally for a socially distant

outdoor eating event featuring four to five local vendors.

Follow the event page on Facebook for updates. Tue, 5/11, 5pm. Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. facebook.com/ ForkInTheRoadChico

THU13 CADDYSHACK AT THE DRIVE-IN: “Noonan! Miss it!”. Thu, 5/13, 8:30pm. $25 - $35. Meriam Park Drive-In, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

MAY ALL MONTH Art 1078 GALLERY: Imagine Together – Hopeful Visions for Our Future, a group show featuring stories, recordings, short films, dances, paintings, drawings and sculptures based on imagination and how it can be used to make the future a hopeful, joyful, inclusive place. Through 5/13. Next: Zak Elstein’s In Decline, a shadow box exhibit exploring the idea that humanity, on our current trajectory, is a species in decline. Opening reception Fri 5/7, 5-8pm. Closing reception Sat 5/29, 1-4pm. Through 5/30. The gallery is now open for in-person viewing. 1710 Park Ave. 1078gallery.org

CHICO ART CENTER: California Contemporary Sculpture, con-

temporary sculpture work by 20 artists in California juried by Bay Area artist and educator Linda Fleming. Zoom reception 5/16, 4pm. Through 6/20. Also, many previous virtual shows are still online, including Creative Fusion, Birds of a Feather and Open Studios. Gallery is open for inperson viewing. 450 Orange St. chicoartcenter.com

- Communicating Through the Language of Art, a juried exhibition of art from 15 artists, all former veterans, including David Hoppe, David Smallhouse, and Richard Whitehead. A virtual tour will be released. Through 5/30. 900 Esplanade. monca.org

Events FARMERS MARKETS: Butte County’s markets are open

and selling fresh produce and more. Chico: Downtown (Saturdays, 7:30am-1pm & Thursdays, 6-9pm); North Valley Plaza (Wednesdays, 8am-1pm); Chico State University Farm (Fridays, noon-4 p.m.). Paradise: Alliance Church (Tuesdays, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.); “Farmers Market Mobile” in Paradise, 1397 South Park Drive (Thursdays, 2pm).

FLUME STREET MARKET: Local arts, crafts and live music on

the corner of 8th and Flume streets. Hosted by Wellspring Art Collective and Chico Art Studio. Saturdays, 11am. Chico Art Studio, 740 Flume St.

PLANT GIVEAWAY AND SALE: Plants are available for purchase,

but free for veterans and their families. All proceeds help to sustain the Veterans Garden Project. Saturdays, 9am at Third & Flume and Sundays, 9 am , AG Mart (1334 Park Ave.). 530-228-1308. veteransgardenproject.org

THURSDAY NIGHT MARKET: The downtown community event

is back! Farm-fresh produce, local arts and crafts, food trucks, Downtown restaurants, and music from local artists. All ages. Thursdays, 6pm. Downtown Chico. downtownchico.com

CULMINATING EXHIBITS AT CHICO STATE: Multiple virtual BFA

over 40 artists working in California and neighboring states highlight our state’s natural beauty in all of its glory—including its darker side: drought, flood and fire. Through 6/5. 625 Esplanade. csuchico.edu/gateway

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ART: Veteran Voices

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CN&R

M AY 6 , 2 0 2 1

NORTH STATE SYMPHONY: To the Fore, a virtual concert.

A six-person chamber ensemble will perform three works: Chamber Symphony by Ellen Taafe Zwilich, Dark Wood by Jennifer Higdon and La Revue de Cuisine by Bohuslav Martinu. Tune in via the NSS YouTube and BCAC. TV (Comcast channel 11). Check website for updates and link. Thu, 5/6, 7pm. Free. North State Symphony. north statesymphony.org

TRIVIA NIGHT: Teams of up-to-five compete for intellectual glory. Hosted by Joe Griffith. Thu, 5/6, 7pm. The Commons, 2412 Park Ave. thecommonschico.com

FRI7 DESPICABLE ME 2 AT THE DRIVE-IN: The 2013 animated adven-

ture/comedy. $5 will be donated to Nord Country School for each ticket purchased. Fri, 5/7, 8:30pm. $25-$35. Meriam Park Drive-In, 1930 Market Pl. meriampark.com

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: An Inspire School of Arts and

Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com

SAT8

JACKI HEADLEY UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY: Flashpoints, an online

Monotypes, a virtual exhibition honoring the expressive and individual qualities of monoprints and monotypes. Through 5/8. Chico State. csuchico.edu/turner

part of Amber Palmer’s Mind Vacation Watercolor Artists exhibit. Live music by local singer/songwriter Steve Johnson. Yes, there will be hors d’oeuvres. Thu, 5/6, 5pm. Broadway Heights, 300 Broadway.

RIGMAROLE: Live jams from the local eight-piece fusion band. Fri, 5/7, 6pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132

GATEWAY SCIENCE MUSEUM: Stitching California, works from

JANET TURNER PRINT MUSEUM: Singular: Monoprints and

AMBER PALMER ART RECEPTION: Work by 14 local artists as

Sciences student production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, from the Paradise Performing Arts Center. Visit inspire.booktix.com to purchase tickets. The show will stream online 5/7-9. Fri, 5/7, 7pm. $25. 530-891-3090. inspirechico.org

culminating exhibits: Bloom, by photography student Jessica Perez (shows 5/5-6; virtual reception Thu, 5/6, 5pm); paintings by Shelby Self (shows 5/13; virtual reception 5/13, 5pm). Visit facebook.com/csuchicoartdept/ events for more info.

exhibition featuring artwork by Chico State art students who took classes between Fall 2019 and Spring 2021. Juror’s celebration and artist panel with Q&AWed, 5/11, 5pm, via Zoom. Through 6/1. Chico State, ARTS 121. headleygallerycsuchico.com

THU6

ANT MAN AT THE DRIVE-IN: The first film in the Marvel series

IN DECLINE – SHADOW BOX EXHIBIT May 7-30

1078 Gallery

starring Paul Rudd as the Avenger who’s sometimes big, sometimes small. Sat, 5/8, 8:30pm. $25 - $35. Meriam Park Drive-In, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

DEAN WAY FLEA MARKET: Browse local art, handmade jewelry,

vintage items and clothing, soups, baked goods and more. Equilateral Coffee will be posted up out front. Sat, 5/8,

10am. Dean Way Flea Market, 23 Dean Way.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: See May 7. Sat, 5/8, 7pm. $25. 530-891-3090. inspirechico.org

MUSIC BINGO: It’s exactly what it sounds like: bingo with music. Thu, 5/13, 7pm. The Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave. thecommonschico.com

FRI14 DJ COOTDOG & DJ LOIS: Music, booze, and food from Golden State Smokery. Fri, 5/14, 9pm. The Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave. thecommonschico.com

TROLLS WORLD TOUR AT THE DRIVE-IN: A jukebox musical and sequel to Trolls. Fri, 5/14, 8:30pm. $25 - $35. Meriam Park Drive-In, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

SAT15 DJ COOTDOG & DJ LOIS: See May 14. Sat, 5/15, 12pm. The

Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave. thecommon schico.com

DRAWN TO CHICO: Join the art center’s artists in sketching downtown cityscapes. 5/15, 10 am , will be at the

Stansbury Home, 5/20 Thursday Night Market, 5/29 Saturday Farmers Market by the “Our Hands” sculpture at City Hall, and 6/3 at the Downtown Plaza. Bring your own materials to sketch. Traditional and digital media welcome. OSAT Artists/Chico Art Center. chicoartcenter.com

DYRK & LAUREL: Live jukebox-style music show with the local duo. Reservations via the pub website is recommended due to seating limitations. Sat, 5/15, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: The first in nine films in the action-flick series. Sat, 5/15, 8:30pm. $25 - $35. Meriam Park Drive-In, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

MAX MINARDI: Live music from the local singer/songwriter. Sat, 5/15, 7pm. The Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave. thecommonschico.com

SUN16 PARADISE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: A live, in-person concert entitled Artists and Americano. Online reservation required. Seating limited to 114 due. Sun, 5/16, 6pm. Free. Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Road, Paradise. paradisesymphony.org

THE STRUNG NUGGET GANG: Northern California Americana/ bluegrass string band. Sun, 5/16, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com


IS YOUR EVENT ONLINE?

So is the CN&R calendar! Submit virtual and real-world events for the online calendar as well as the monthly print edition at chico.newsreview.com/calendar

JAZZ SATIE: Local jazz, blues and retro-pop. Reservations via the pub website are recommended due to seating limitations. Sat, 5/22, 1pm. Free. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130. facebook.com

Earl’s Plumbing (530) 879-5590

THE LADIES FOURSOME: See May 21. Sat, 5/22, 7:30pm. $20.

Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com

SUN23 THE PALE GYPSY: A one-man show featuring music, satire

and comedy by the local musician and voice actor best known for his work as Murray from the Sly Cooper video game series. Sun, 5/23, 3pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com

CALIFORNIA CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE

THE LADIES FOURSOME: See May 21. Sun, 5/23, 2pm. $20. Chico

Theater Company, 166 Eaton Rd. chicotheatercompany.com

May 1-June 20

Chico Art Center

“Reborn,” by Elizabeth Folk

THU20

THU27 MUSIC BINGO: It’s exactly what it sounds like: bingo with music. Thu, 5/27, 7pm. The Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave. thecommonschico.com

DRAWN TO CHICO: See May 15. Thu, 5/20, 6pm. OSAT Artists and Chico Art Center. chicoartcenter.com

PLANTS OF VERNAL POOL LANDSCAPES IN CHICO AREA: A virtual

vernal field trip led by Rob Schlising of Chico State’s Department of Biological Sciences via Zoom. Most of the photos shown are from The Nature Conservancy’s Vine Plains Preserve north of Chico called the Richvale Vernal Pools. Thu, 5/20, 7pm. Online Event, Chico State. friendsofthechicostateherbarium.com

TRIVIA NIGHT: See Thu, 5/6. Thu, 5/20, 7pm. The Commons

Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave. thecommonschico.com

THE LADIES FOURSOME: See May 21. Thu, 5/27, 7:30pm. $20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater company.com

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FRI28 DJ COOTDOG & DJ LOIS: See May 14. Fri, 5/28, 9pm. The

Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave. thecommon schico.com

24 Hour Emergency Service - Free Quotes www.earlsplumbing.net

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THE LADIES FOURSOME: See May 21. Fri, 5/28, 7:30pm. $20.

FRI21

Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road chicotheatercom pany.com

DJ COOTDOG & DJ LOIS: See May 14. Fri, 5/21, 9pm. The

Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave. thecommon schico.com

THE LADIES FOURSOME: Chico Theater Co. is back with a fast-

paced comedy about three close friends and a stranger bonding over a round of golf after attending a mutual friend’s funeral. Depending on state and county requirements, show will either be inside or outside. Fri, 5/21, 7:30pm. $20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com

SAT22

SAT29 DRAWN TO CHICO: See May 15. Sat, 5/29, 9am. Downtown Chico. chicoartcenter.com

THE LADIES FOURSOME: See May 21. Sat, 5/29, 7:30pm. $20.

Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicothe atercompany.com

SUN30 THE LADIES FOURSOME: See May 21. Sun, 5/30, 2pm. $20. Chico

CAR SHOW: Vendors, food trucks, and music by Soul Posse. All ages welcome. Sat, 5/22, 10am. Free. Paradise Elks Lodge,

Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater company.com

1100 Elk Lane, Paradise. (530) 877-3977. paradisechamber.com

EDITOR’S PICK

COMMUNITY SPREAD – THE GOOD KIND! We might not be at the packed-bar/hug-a-stranger/ disco-dance-party stage of pandemic recovery yet, but there are some very positive signs that normal is on the horizon, notably the fact that two of Chico’s favorite outdoor community events are happening again. The downtown staple, Thursday Night Market (pictured), and the Fork in the Road food-truck rally (now at its

new location, Meriam Park) will make their respective debuts today (May 6) and Tuesday (May 11), with social-distance and face-covering requirements in place. (All you vaccinated folks, the CDC may have

said it’s cool for the inoculated to hang outdoors sans face covering, but they still advise wearing one when at a “crowded outdoor event.” Let’s keep this positive momentum going!)

M AY 6 , 2 0 2 1

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MUSIC

‘Unstoppable’ season N

orth State Symphony premieres To the Fore,

its final show of the 2020-21 season, tonight (May 6), and the press release boasts that the concert “includes our largest chamber music ensemble of the season.” When asked about this “large” group of players, symphony Music Director and Conductor Scott Season’s reply was: “By the most we mean … six.” It helps to have a sense of humor when the program you lead has by Jason had an entire season turned upside Cassidy down. Restrictions put in place by the state to help slow the spread of jasonc@ COVID-19 hit live entertainment newsreview.com organizations particularly hard. For its 20th anniversary season, the Preview: To the Fore—a virtual symphony was reduced from its chamber concert featurusual 70-plus-member orchestra to a ing works by Ellen Taaffe variety of chamber-sized ensembles Zwilich, Jennifer Higdon that numbered no more than six and Bohuslav Martinu— players each while also being forced premieres tonight (May 6) at 7 p.m. Showing to forgo performing in front of live on community-access audiences altogether. TV in Shasta and Butte The planned schedule was counties and streamscrapped and replaced with a seaing online at the NSS YouTube channel. Visit son dubbed Rediscover, made up of northstatesymphony.org five virtual concerts filmed at varifor details and links. ous Nor Cal locations—Redding’s Old City Hall; the Chico Women’s

Forced to adapt during pandemic, North State Symphony has kept on playing

Club; Morris Graves Museum of Art in Eureka and the Redding School of the Arts. However, even some of these new plans were upended by ever-shifting conditions. “A lot of times, we were changing things hourly or by the day. We have had at least 30 versions of how this current season went,” Seaton told the CN&R during a recent Zoom interview with him and symphony Executive Director Elizabeth Quivey, who added: “In addi-

tion to the [COVID] health and safety stuff, we also changed dates and rescheduled [some] recording sessions due to the state being on fire and not being able to work in confined spaces without windows being open. It was incredibly topsy-turvy.” “For example,” Seaton added, “our February concert—which we called Conversations—wasn’t originally even called that as early as, I think, January. It was called Love and Friendship—we

Symphony Executive Director Elizabeth Quivey takes a selfie during preparations for the Gypsy Strings program, filmed last fall at Old City Hall in Redding. PHOTO BY ELIZABETH QUIVEY

were playing on the whole Valentine’s thing—and then we learned that we would not be able to record in person at all, not even for a small ensemble. “We decided to go into a realm we hadn’t toyed with at that point, which was completely asynchronous recording. So, all of our musicians from all over the place sent in audio and video recordings that they recorded in their own personal spaces. And then I pieced together those ensembles … and that was something that, even a couple weeks before that, I did not have the skill set to do. It was a huge learning process, but we did it. We turned that project into a great set of education concerts.” The last-minute production change seemed to energize the players cooped up Far left: Bassoonist Jarratt Rossini performs at Redding School of the Arts during the recording of To the Fore . PHOTO BY SESAR SANCHEZ

A string quartet performs at the Chico Women’s Club for the North State Symphony’s Beethoven 250 virtual concert that originally streamed in December. PHOTO BY SESAR SANCHEZ

24 24

CN&R CN&R

M A PAY R I L6 ,82, 022012 1


We’re open & taking reservations for indoor seating.

The print on th

Do

Symphony Music Director and Conductor Scott Seaton wore more hats than usual during the 2020-21 season. In addition to conducting, he did sound/video editing, hosted online interview segments (such as with violinist Summer Sun above) and joined an ensemble as a player.

at the height of the pandemic, resulting in very spirited performances. Some players shared a space for their contribution— like mother-son cello-flute duo Ruth and Anthoni Polcari on Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Jet Whistle, II & III”—while others tracked their parts separately and played split screen to impressive effect (especially clarinetist Bruce Belton, who accompanied several versions of himself). The intimate nature of Conversations, which included personal introductions by the musicians, played into the revamped season’s Rediscover theme. In the absence of getting to experience the full orchestra together this year, Seaton said the idea was to “rediscover” the most important part of the symphony—the players—both through the season’s small-scale performances and via the many “Musician Accents” video segments that were released between shows. The 20- to 30-minute clips of Seaton interviewing individual musicians were part of the symphony’s full commitment to the virtual model, which also included the “Just Ask” program (an online Q&A between viewers and Seaton plus a guest soloist), re-release of archive concerts, interviews with board members, online performances and outreach with local schools. All told, more than 50 releases went online during the pandemic. “This layer of technology is here to stay,” admitted Quivey, who stressed that

the online work and the connections it’s provided between the organization and the community fit right into the mission of providing access to the symphony. Quivey also said, at this point, as the group looks ahead to next season, they will continue to program flexibility into all of their planning. It’s still unknown when the symphony will be able to play live and inperson. “I really miss the audience in the same space. It’s amazing how stark it is when they’re not there,” she said. “There’s an energy missing that I really really look forward to when we are able to be back. I hope that what we take away from it is acknowledging that specialness always— not just the first time back—but we can hold that and remember that every time that we’re on stage.” “Nothing replaces live music,” added Seaton, who said he’s looking forward to the day when the symphony gets to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the grand chorale work that has been rescheduled several times throughout the pandemic and is tentatively booked as the finale for the 2021-22 season. “That concert has shifted names many times, and we’re calling it Unstoppable Beethoven.” The Ninth is an enormous production that adds a choir to the stage alongside the full symphony, and it would, most appropriately, come at the end of a season that will be titled Crescendo. “We’re starting on a small scale and going all the way to the grandest of scales,” said Seaton. “It’ll be this time that everyone comes back together.” Ω

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M AY 6 , 2 0 2 1

CN&R

25


SCENE After a year of coronavirus restrictions, Chico Theater Co. is poised to to welcome back indoor audiences

The opening curtain protection loans that totaled about $50,000. We’ve applied for other grants—the Aaron Rodgers one again, California Arts Council for $15,000, and I just this morning finished the SVOG, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. It’s for all kinds of venues; they’ll reimburse up to 45 percent of lost income in 2020. So, I just finished and we would qualify for $150,000 if we get it.

Are you excited? May 21 can’t get here soon enough. I want to just look out at all those faces, socially distanced as it may be. We’ll still be able to get, I imagine, probably 70 people in [as compared to 200 capacity].

W down last summer after the state put COVID-19 restrictions in place to hen Chico Theater Company shut

keep people from gathering in groups, Executive Director Marc Edson found himself, like so many others, unemployed during a pandemic. Without an audience or a company of players to tend to, the nearly lifelong Chicoan by (he moved here at Jason Cassidy the age of 7) did j aso nc @ what a local does newsrev i ew.c om with empty summer days in front Preview: of them—he floatThe Ladies Foursome Thursday-Saturday, ed down the river. 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, 2 All told, he went p.m., May 21-June 6. tubing 19 times. The show will be By fall, howstaged indoors with current COVID-19 ever, he was sufguidelines in place. ficiently rested and If mandates require, ready to get back to performances will work. Edson said moved to the outdoor “Starlight Stage.” that the absence of theater was painful Chico Theater Co. for the company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F so they decided 894-3282 to take advantage chicotheater company.com of the stipulation of outdoor shows being allowed. A stage was built, and a drive-in style theater was arranged in the parking lot behind the building. It only lasted for two shows, but the new setup gave Edson a potential backup. He’s hopeful that he won’t need it. Last month, CTC announced a fiveshow season that will open with The Ladies Foursome on May 21, which will likely make it the first local performance company to open its doors since the pandemic closures. Butte County is in orange tier of the state’s recovery program, which has been amended to allow theaters to host socially distant audiences up to 50 percent of capacity. The CN&R sat down with Edson in the CTC lobby to talk about how the theater has survived and what might be

26

CN&R

M AY 6 , 2 0 2 1

I know your theater was touched by COVID-19. John Fuller, one of your players, died from the disease in January. What was your relationship with him? Above: The cast of The Ladies Foursome rehearsing at Chico Theater Co. From left: Kathy Robinson, Lisa Saldano, Christine Buckstead and Sandy Huseth. PHOTO BY MARC EDSON

Left: Executive Director Marc Edson sits in the auditorium of his Chico Theater Co., which hasn’t held an audience in roughly one year. PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY

that you’re back. I’ve missed you so much.” It’s been busy, but a very heart-touching time.

How has the theater been able survive the pandemic?

on the horizon as he looks forward to the Jun 15 date that Gov. Gavin Newsom has set for all businesses in the state—including theaters—to fully reopen.

You just announced a new season. Is this your normal full slate of plays? Normally we have eight shows; this year we’re doing five. I just finally said, “I’m done. I’m going to find shows that, if I can’t do them inside, I’ll do them outside in the back parking lot.” Then, right about that time, things loosened up. So, [the plays] are adaptable either way. But we are planning on May 21 with opening inside. We’re going to do the social distancing. We blocked every other row, two seats

between every party. We’ll have people wear masks until they get to their seats. I think that will cover us.

How do you think people will react to inperson experiences after so long? We saw a taste of that in [the] fall when we did those two shows, you know, people sitting in their lawn chairs watching it, they were almost in tears for just being able to be back and to watch shows again. We’ve started selling season tickets, and everyone who calls is like, “Oh my god, I’m so happy The Snake (Jeff Dickinson) offers the forbidden fruit to Eve (Holly Quick) in The Diaries of Adam and Eve, an October 2020 production staged outside in the lot behind Chico Theater Company. PHOTO BY RANDY ROSS

Luckily, most of the seasonticket holders donated back their tickets—to the tune of probably about $50,000—and that was a big help. And then a lot of people gave financial donations during this time. We did get two of the payroll

John had done, I think, four shows with us. Lovely man, just loved theater. I didn’t even know he’d gotten sick, and all of a sudden I heard from one of his daughters that he’d passed away. I spoke at his service, and we had four or five actors there. It really made it very real.

How well do you think the art scene will recover after the pandemic? It’s taken quite a hit, you know, with the Blue Room losing their space. … I think it’s going to come back. From the response I’ve seen with ticket sales just in this last week and a half, I’m very excited people are willing to come back. Plus, we [have] sold about 250 season tickets, and 35 percent of those had never bought season tickets before! Ω


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Laura Fletcher Steven Flowers Ramona Flynn Lorraine Forster Kris Foster John & Janet Fournier Gary Francis Christopher Freemyers Dan Fregin Sandra Fricker Paul Friedlander Stephen Fritter Lea Gadbois Marian Gage Mark & Cynthia Gailey Cynthia Gailey Francine Gair Nicolette Gamache Celeste Garcia Matthew Garcia Maureen & Michael Garcia Bill Gardner Suzanne Garrett Kenneth Gates Nalani Geary Kim Gentry Cynthia Gerrie Scott Giannini Tovey Giezentanner Sharon Gillis David & Kathy Gipson Bradley Glanville Jay Goldberg Diana Good Nancy Good Lucy & Richard Gould Judith Graves Diane Gray Jim Graydon Stephen Green Susan Green David Guzzetti Linda Haddock James & Edith Haehn Deborah Halfpenny & Dan Eyde Kim Hamberg Bonny Hamilton Steven Hammond Matthew Hammons Linnea Hanson & Harold Carlson Jennifer Harris Lynn Haskell Jeannette Hassur Erik Havana Tom & Cheryl Hawk Alma Hayes Ryan Heimlich Kimberly Heines Jeri Heiser Judy Henderson Tyson Henry Christel Herda Ruben Heredia Rebecca Herring Reiner Scott Hodgkinson Terrence Hoffman Debra-Lou Hoffmann Janice Hofmann Andrew Holcombe Lindy Hoppough Leslie Howard Scott Howard Minjhing Hsieh

Dennis Huff Susan Hughes Roger & Nancy Hull Debra Humes Dr. Ralph Huntsinger David Hurst Cathy Inzer Kathryn Jackson Richard Jackson Jake Jacobson John James Jeanette Jassur William Jennings Mary Jeppson Tony Jewett Brian Johnson Dan Johnson Janet Johnson Jim & Mary Johnson Leslie Johnson Megan Johnson Sharon Johnson George Johnston Thomas Jordan Timothy Jordan Jo Ellen Kaiser Alexandra Karacosta Robert Karch Stephen Kasprzyk Jennifer Kasza Henry & Logan Katka Dan Katz Ann Kauffman Annie Kavanagh So Keehn Steve Kennedy Mark Kernes Judy Keswick Elizabeth Kieszkowski Zack Kincheloe Cheryl King Diana King Darlene Kirby Jeanine Kitchel Lana Kitchel Roger Klaves Ladona Knigge Marilyn Knox Bill Knudsen Lauren Kohler Larry & Maureen Krik John Kuhn Wendy Kuo Gary Kupp Michelle Ladcani Nicole Lagrave Mark & Tomoko Lance Lisa Langley Steve Larned

Frank Larose Scott Laursen Daniel Law Jana Lawton Tim Leefeldt Patricia Lennon Sarah Lerda Fredrick Lester David Lewis Kate Leyden Kim Lieberman Jeff Lindsay Anna Ling Jeffery Livingston Kenneth Logan Sally Loker Edith Lopez Chuck Lundgren Kaelin Lundgren Tanha Luvaas Lee Lyon Don Lytle Mercedes Macías Linda MacMichael Malama MacNeil Michael Magliari V.S. Maier Vic Makau Jilly Mandeson Bob Martin John Martin Kristy Martin Marilyn & Daniel Martin Stacie Martin Grace Marvin Keitha Mashaw Treva Mauch Edwards Day Alexandra Mayer Stuart Mayer Judy McCrary Paul McCreary Suzy McCreary Lisa McDaniel Olive McDonough Leah McKean Brandon McKie Oden McMillan Robert Meads Marv Megibow Lauren Meichtry Stephen Metzger Carol Meurer Richard Meyers Caroline & Gregory Miller Dave Miller Karen Miller Ryan Miller John Miller-George

This is YOUR paper, and we will continue to serve our community together. Thank you.

Shirley Mills Katie Milo V. & Silvia Milosevich Susan Minasian Peggy Mitchell Stephanie Mittman Ronald Morgan Abbie Moriarty Cathy Mueller Cynthia Muskin Richard Narad Charles Nelson & Paula Busch Christine Nelson Jaime Nelson Mary Nelson Pamela Nett-Kruger Jan Ng Gary Nielsen Chuck Niepoth Robert Nilsen Claudie Nooner Stephanie Norlie Leah Norling Jane Oberg Dexter O’Connell Maria Olson Jean & Nancy Oriol Sienna Orlando-Lalaguna John O’Shea Marie O’Sullivan Cecilia Pace Michael Panunto Jamie Parfrey Nancy Park Elena M. Patton Charles Peckham Diane Perrault Nathaniel Perry Christopher Phipps Robert Pierce Patti Plumb Pat Plumb Ann Polivka Ann & James Ponzio Anthony Porter Harold Pringer Deborah Pruitt Alan Raetz Daphne Raitt Sal Ramirez Peter Ratner Janet Rechtman Cleo Reed Jannafer Reed John Reed Susan Reed Tom Reed Marilyn Rees Rich Reiner Pam & Rick Reynolds Sandi Rice Michael Richman Reta Rickmers Mary Riley Ernesto Rivera Kate Roark Diane Robel Jess Robel Jeff Robel William Robie Joan Robins Drusilla Robinson Susan Ronan Larry Root Casey Rose

Wendy Rose Jennifer Rossovich William Rowe Dale Rudesill Scott Rushing Samuel Ruttenburg Yvonne Saavedra Rozemary Sabino-Blodget Susan Sagarese Bradley Sager Sarah Salisbury Gabriel Sandoval Robert Sandstedt Christy Santos Steve Santos Grant Sautner Jerry & Barbara Schacht Walter Schafer Leeann Schlaf Heather Schlaff Nancy Schleiger Brad Schreiber John Scott Sherri Scott Kim Seidler Michael Seko Bradley Sellers Linda Serrato Linda Sheppard Ron Sherman Diana Shuey Richard & Dana Silva Briggs Judy Simmons Ellen Simon Abbe Simpkins Regina Simpson Nowelle Sinclair Anna Skaggs Gabriella Smith Genevieve Smith Joe Smith Larry Smith Lawrence Smith & Max Zachai Christina Solomon Elaine Soost Lisa & Marc Sorensen Crista Souza Roy Spaeth Patrick Spielman Heather Springer Tao Stadler Roger Steel Jim Steele Elizabeth Stewart Pam Stoesser Becky & Robert Stofa Larry Strand Robert Streed Fred & Willo Stuart Linda Stukey Doug & Joy Sturm Tara Sullivan-Hames Tom Sundgren Kenneth Sutten Paul Switzer Jason Tannen Erin Tarabini Carole Taylor Jamie Taylor Stephen Tchudi Susan Tchudi Jeanne Thatcher Waistell Charles Thistlethwaite Lorna Thomas Heidi Thompson

Brooks Thorlaksson Graham Thurgood Ron Tietz Hugh Tinling Andrew Tomaselli Shelley Townsell Linda Townsend Yparraguirre John Tozzi JL Trizzino Quintin Troester Kristin Uhlig Leanne Ulvang Bill Unger A. Christopher Urbach Charles & Carol Urbanowicz Kim V. Natalie Valencia Robert Van Fleet Derek Vanderbom Emily Vanneman Debra Vermette Barbara Vlamis Pamela Voekel Albert Vogel Camille Von Kaenel Brittany W. Erin Wade Laurens Walker Martin Wallace Jeremy Walsh Jane Wanderer Blaine Waterman Elaine & George Watkin Carol & John Watson Stacey Wear Catherine Webster Vicki Webster Tristan Weems Kim Weir Dorothy Weise Suzette Welch Eve Werner Jeffrey White Susan Wiesinger Emily Williams Joseph Wills J.T. & Retta Wilmarth Louis Wilner Marie Winslow Addison Winslow Nancy Wirtz Charles Withuhn Bruce Wohl Gordon Wolfe Kjerstin Wood Susan Wooldridge Charles & Denise Worth James Wortham Erica Wuestehube Marc Wysong Monica Zukrow Paul Zwart M.L. A.D.M. Daniel Diane Fera Harold & Jean Karen Muria Pam Silkshop LLC Rosemarie Matthew & Todd

Our Spring Supporter Drive launches in May! Please support the CN&R’s local news and arts coverage as our community transitions out of lockdown - your help is needed now more than ever! CHICO.NEWSREVIEW.COM M AY 6 , 2 0 2 1

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ARTS DEVO by JASON CASSIDY • jasonc@newsreview.com

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Our Spring Supporter Drive launches in May! Please support the CN&R’s local news and arts coverage as our community transitions out of lockdown. Your help is needed now more than ever! chico.newsreview.com/SupportCNR

BRING BACK THE ARTS When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of the clubs, theaters, bars and galleries last year, Arts DEVO’s world disappeared. For 17 years, my self-imposed job description was: own the local arts scene. I poured myself into the work of becoming ingrained, and in time, the relationship between the music/arts community and the Chico News & Review became what defined me. As the scene slipped away, not only did my beat fade, in many ways, so did I. It’s been a rough year. So, though my optimism remains guarded, I can see glimmers of hope on the horizon: California is tentatively set to allow businesses— including performance spaces—to reopen on June 15; previously canceled live concerts are beginning to be rescheduled for the fall (such as the nonpareil Black Midi at Bottom of the Hill in S.F.); and here in town, Chico Theater Co. is reopening to live audiences starting May 21 (see “The opening curtain,” page 26). As brutal as things have been for my delicate spirit, at least I have a job. Many in the arts field haven’t been so lucky. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the impact of Covid on the labor force for occupations in the performing arts has been profound. Overall, the U.S. unemployment rate for the third quarter of 2020 (July-September) was about 8.5 percent. For the same period, that rate was 27.1 percent for musicians, sound people, etc.; 52.3 percent for actors; and 54.6 percent for dancers and choreographers. Spending on performing arts tickets was down roughly 75 percent during the quarter. As we are now seeing arts makers and presenters cautiously pull back the curtains, the CN&R wants to do its part to help restore the vibrant art and live-performance scene that this town is known for—and the best way for us to help is by telling the stories and letting audiences that are hungry for arts and entertainment know what artists and venues are up to. So, starting today and for the next few months, the CN&R will be putting the spotlight on the arts venues in Butte County with the Bring Back the Arts campaign. Yours truly will interview the leaders of local arts and music venues about their recovery efforts, and each week the CN&R will feature a Q&A online (chico.newsreview.com) and on the paper’s radio show (Thursdays, 5-5:30 p.m., on KZFR, 90.1FM and kzfr.org), as well as at least one selection (for now) in the monthly print edition. First up is Marc Edson, Executive Director of the Chico Theater Co. (again, see page 26). Welcome back! PICTURE OF OUR FUTURE We are not meeting herd immunity for coronavirus in Butte County any time soon, if ever. Experts say—given the new, more contagious variants popping up—the world would need between 70 percent and 90 percent combined immunity from vaccines and/or infections to achieve herd immunity. Butte County is at nearly 62,000 fully vaccinated folks and we’ve had 11,660 COVID-19 infections. That’s roughly 33 percent combined immunity for the county. Combined immunity for the entire U.S. is at 53 percent, and projections have the country hitting 60 percent by late May and then hovering within a few points of that for the rest of the year. Since the vast majority of at-risk folks are now protected by the vaccine, the numbers will likely be enough for us to resume life as normal(ish). Who wants to meet me at Duffy’s for a pint and a shot? If it’s OK, can we sit at the patios in the street? I feel safer there, for now.

This is a good sign. PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY

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The following individuals stepped up to support independent journalism.

We are so grateful for your support. Laurie Aaron Joseph Acciaioli Maria Aguilar Kim Agur Karen Aikin Robert Alber Lory Allan Emily Alma Jeanette Alosi Davy Andrek Jean Andrews David & Lori Angel Ronald Angle Karen Ann Nelson Anthoine William & Cheryl Appleby James & Mary Aram Christina Archuleta Vicki Artzner Janet Ashley Laura Askim Wayland Augur Ted Baca Mat Bacior Shereen Baker Karen Balestieri Antoine Baptiste Florin Barnhart Kathleen Barrera Kathy Barrett Thomas Barrett Linda Bates Maureen Baumgartner Roger Beadle Claudia Beaty Norman Beecher Christianne Belles Daniel & Charlene Beltan Mary Kay Benson Kathy Berger Gordon Bergthold Bryan Bickley Robert Biehler Earline Blankinship Erica Blaschke Mark Bloom Barbara Boeger Jamie Boelter Stephen Bohnemeyer April Boone Daniel Botsford Janice Branch Vicky Breeden Marlene Brenden Janet Brennan Trish Briel Diane Brobeck Dennis Broselle Caryl Brown Danielle Browning Cindy & Martin Buckley Anika Burke Barbara Burke CJ Burkett John Burnham Carol Burr Robert Burton Lynne Bussey Philip Butler Sherry Butler Deborah Cady Vi Cantu Michael Capelle Caroline Carey Jennifer Carey

Mark Carlsten Doug Carroll Daniel Carter Linda Cartier Joel Castle Elen Castleberry Delena Cavaness Amanda Chambless Beth Chase Susan Chin Susan & Michael Christensen A. Christodoulides Jeanne Christopherson Judy Clemens Rosemarie Colson Felecia Commesso Gail Compton Christine Connerly Justin Cooper Paralee Cooper Jack Coots Keitha Corbit Danetta Cordova Robert Cottrell Helen Coupe Michael Coyle Roy Crabtree Mary Cree Joe Crispin Scott Cronk Marcel Daguerre Olivia Dakof Jessica Daly Nathan Daly Jude Darrin, Ph.D Mike & Marie D’Augelli Debra Daugherty Marycarol Deane Michelle Deese Marie Demers Anthony Devine Ken Devol Lechia Dickinson Jodie Dillman Joseph Dimaggio Tim Dobbs Susan Dobra Graham Dobson Kenneth Doglio Carin Dorghalli Sophie Duckett Trudy Duisenberg Kristi Edwards Patricia Egan Andrew Elliott Henry Elliott Sharron C. Ellis Heather Ellison Richard Elsom Robyn Engel Timothy Ervin Adele Etcheverry Sheets Tyler Evaro Nancy Evens Kathleen Faith Annette Faurote Kathy Favor Adam Fedeli Mitzi Felix Steve Ferreira Phillip Filbrandt Elizabeth Finch Greg Fischer Clare Fisher Denise Fleming

Laura Fletcher Steven Flowers Ramona Flynn Lorraine Forster Kris Foster John & Janet Fournier Gary Francis Christopher Freemyers Dan Fregin Sandra Fricker Paul Friedlander Stephen Fritter Lea Gadbois Marian Gage Mark & Cynthia Gailey Cynthia Gailey Francine Gair Nicolette Gamache Celeste Garcia Matthew Garcia Maureen & Michael Garcia Bill Gardner Suzanne Garrett Kenneth Gates Nalani Geary Kim Gentry Cynthia Gerrie Scott Giannini Tovey Giezentanner Sharon Gillis David & Kathy Gipson Bradley Glanville Jay Goldberg Diana Good Nancy Good Lucy & Richard Gould Judith Graves Diane Gray Jim Graydon Stephen Green Susan Green David Guzzetti Linda Haddock James & Edith Haehn Deborah Halfpenny & Dan Eyde Kim Hamberg Bonny Hamilton Steven Hammond Matthew Hammons Linnea Hanson & Harold Carlson Jennifer Harris Lynn Haskell Jeannette Hassur Erik Havana Tom & Cheryl Hawk Alma Hayes Ryan Heimlich Kimberly Heines Jeri Heiser Judy Henderson Tyson Henry Christel Herda Ruben Heredia Rebecca Herring Reiner Scott Hodgkinson Terrence Hoffman Debra-Lou Hoffmann Janice Hofmann Andrew Holcombe Lindy Hoppough Leslie Howard Scott Howard Minjhing Hsieh

Dennis Huff Susan Hughes Roger & Nancy Hull Debra Humes Dr. Ralph Huntsinger David Hurst Cathy Inzer Kathryn Jackson Richard Jackson Jake Jacobson John James Jeanette Jassur William Jennings Mary Jeppson Tony Jewett Brian Johnson Dan Johnson Janet Johnson Jim & Mary Johnson Leslie Johnson Megan Johnson Sharon Johnson George Johnston Thomas Jordan Timothy Jordan Jo Ellen Kaiser Alexandra Karacosta Robert Karch Stephen Kasprzyk Jennifer Kasza Henry & Logan Katka Dan Katz Ann Kauffman Annie Kavanagh So Keehn Steve Kennedy Mark Kernes Judy Keswick Elizabeth Kieszkowski Zack Kincheloe Cheryl King Diana King Darlene Kirby Jeanine Kitchel Lana Kitchel Roger Klaves Ladona Knigge Marilyn Knox Bill Knudsen Lauren Kohler Larry & Maureen Krik John Kuhn Wendy Kuo Gary Kupp Michelle Ladcani Nicole Lagrave Mark & Tomoko Lance Lisa Langley Steve Larned

Frank Larose Scott Laursen Daniel Law Jana Lawton Tim Leefeldt Patricia Lennon Sarah Lerda Fredrick Lester David Lewis Kate Leyden Kim Lieberman Jeff Lindsay Anna Ling Jeffery Livingston Kenneth Logan Sally Loker Edith Lopez Chuck Lundgren Kaelin Lundgren Tanha Luvaas Lee Lyon Don Lytle Mercedes Macías Linda MacMichael Malama MacNeil Michael Magliari V.S. Maier Vic Makau Jilly Mandeson Bob Martin John Martin Kristy Martin Marilyn & Daniel Martin Stacie Martin Grace Marvin Keitha Mashaw Treva Mauch Edwards Day Alexandra Mayer Stuart Mayer Judy McCrary Paul McCreary Suzy McCreary Lisa McDaniel Olive McDonough Leah McKean Brandon McKie Oden McMillan Robert Meads Marv Megibow Lauren Meichtry Stephen Metzger Carol Meurer Richard Meyers Caroline & Gregory Miller Dave Miller Karen Miller Ryan Miller John Miller-George

This is YOUR paper, and we will continue to serve our community together. Thank you.

Shirley Mills Katie Milo V. & Silvia Milosevich Susan Minasian Peggy Mitchell Stephanie Mittman Ronald Morgan Abbie Moriarty Cathy Mueller Cynthia Muskin Richard Narad Charles Nelson & Paula Busch Christine Nelson Jaime Nelson Mary Nelson Pamela Nett-Kruger Jan Ng Gary Nielsen Chuck Niepoth Robert Nilsen Claudie Nooner Stephanie Norlie Leah Norling Jane Oberg Dexter O’Connell Maria Olson Jean & Nancy Oriol Sienna Orlando-Lalaguna John O’Shea Marie O’Sullivan Cecilia Pace Michael Panunto Jamie Parfrey Nancy Park Elena M. Patton Charles Peckham Diane Perrault Nathaniel Perry Christopher Phipps Robert Pierce Patti Plumb Pat Plumb Ann Polivka Ann & James Ponzio Anthony Porter Harold Pringer Deborah Pruitt Alan Raetz Daphne Raitt Sal Ramirez Peter Ratner Janet Rechtman Cleo Reed Jannafer Reed John Reed Susan Reed Tom Reed Marilyn Rees Rich Reiner Pam & Rick Reynolds Sandi Rice Michael Richman Reta Rickmers Mary Riley Ernesto Rivera Kate Roark Diane Robel Jess Robel Jeff Robel William Robie Joan Robins Drusilla Robinson Susan Ronan Larry Root Casey Rose

Wendy Rose Jennifer Rossovich William Rowe Dale Rudesill Scott Rushing Samuel Ruttenburg Yvonne Saavedra Rozemary Sabino-Blodget Susan Sagarese Bradley Sager Sarah Salisbury Gabriel Sandoval Robert Sandstedt Christy Santos Steve Santos Grant Sautner Jerry & Barbara Schacht Walter Schafer Leeann Schlaf Heather Schlaff Nancy Schleiger Brad Schreiber John Scott Sherri Scott Kim Seidler Michael Seko Bradley Sellers Linda Serrato Linda Sheppard Ron Sherman Diana Shuey Richard & Dana Silva Briggs Judy Simmons Ellen Simon Abbe Simpkins Regina Simpson Nowelle Sinclair Anna Skaggs Gabriella Smith Genevieve Smith Joe Smith Larry Smith Lawrence Smith & Max Zachai Christina Solomon Elaine Soost Lisa & Marc Sorensen Crista Souza Roy Spaeth Patrick Spielman Heather Springer Tao Stadler Roger Steel Jim Steele Elizabeth Stewart Pam Stoesser Becky & Robert Stofa Larry Strand Robert Streed Fred & Willo Stuart Linda Stukey Doug & Joy Sturm Tara Sullivan-Hames Tom Sundgren Kenneth Sutten Paul Switzer Jason Tannen Erin Tarabini Carole Taylor Jamie Taylor Stephen Tchudi Susan Tchudi Jeanne Thatcher Waistell Charles Thistlethwaite Lorna Thomas Heidi Thompson

Brooks Thorlaksson Graham Thurgood Ron Tietz Hugh Tinling Andrew Tomaselli Shelley Townsell Linda Townsend Yparraguirre John Tozzi JL Trizzino Quintin Troester Kristin Uhlig Leanne Ulvang Bill Unger A. Christopher Urbach Charles & Carol Urbanowicz Kim V. Natalie Valencia Robert Van Fleet Derek Vanderbom Emily Vanneman Debra Vermette Barbara Vlamis Pamela Voekel Albert Vogel Camille Von Kaenel Brittany W. Erin Wade Laurens Walker Martin Wallace Jeremy Walsh Jane Wanderer Blaine Waterman Elaine & George Watkin Carol & John Watson Stacey Wear Catherine Webster Vicki Webster Tristan Weems Kim Weir Dorothy Weise Suzette Welch Eve Werner Jeffrey White Susan Wiesinger Emily Williams Joseph Wills J.T. & Retta Wilmarth Louis Wilner Marie Winslow Addison Winslow Nancy Wirtz Charles Withuhn Bruce Wohl Gordon Wolfe Kjerstin Wood Susan Wooldridge Charles & Denise Worth James Wortham Erica Wuestehube Marc Wysong Monica Zukrow Paul Zwart M.L. A.D.M. Daniel Diane Fera Harold & Jean Karen Muria Pam Silkshop LLC Rosemarie Matthew & Todd

Our Spring Supporter Drive launches in May! Please support the CN&R’s local news and arts coverage as our community transitions out of lockdown - your help is needed now more than ever! CHICO.NEWSREVIEW.COM MAY 6, 2021

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KZFR and the CN&R is the perfect collaboration between two community-focused media outlets at a time when independent local journalism is more important than ever.

like the new interviews FREE WILL ASTROLOGY with the w and comm For the week oF MAY 6, 2021 bY rob brezsnY dialogue, a the mysterious, welcome the numinous, exARIES (March 21-April 19): Created by plore the wildness within you, unrepress big Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century, the spotlights feelings you’ve buried, and marvel adoringly Mona Lisa is one of the world’s most famous about your deepest yearnings. paintings. It’s hanging in the Louvre museum entertainm in Paris. In that same museum is a less reLIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Science writer nowned version of the Mona Lisa. It depicts the same woman, but she’s unclothed. Made by da Vinci’s student, it was probably inspired by a now-lost nude Mona Lisa painted by the master himself. Renaissance artists commonly created “heavenly” and “vulgar” versions of the same subject. I suggest that in the coming weeks you opt for the “vulgar” Mona Lisa, not the “heavenly” one, as your metaphor of power. Favor what’s earthy, raw and unadorned over what’s spectacular, idealized and polished.

CA

05.06.21

JLD

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Taurus poet Local news and arts coverage presented much like the newspaper version of the CN&R, with interviews with the people in the stories and with the writers reporting them, updates and commentary on local issues, community dialogue, arts/music previews and reviews, and spotlights on upcoming community events and entertainment.

Hosted by CN&R Interim Editor, Jason Cassidy Tune in at 90.1 FM or stream online at kzfr.org

Thursdays, 5:00–5:30pm

Vera Pavlova writes, “Why is the word yes so brief? It should be the longest, the hardest, so that you could not decide in an instant to say it, so that upon reflection you could stop in the middle of saying it.” I suppose it makes sense for her to express such an attitude, given the fact that she never had a happy experience until she was 20 years old, and that furthermore, this happiness was “unbearable.” (She confessed these sad truths in an interview.) But I hope you won’t adopt her hard-edged skepticism toward YES anytime soon, Taurus. In my view, it’s time for you to become a connoisseur of YES, a brave explorer of the bright mysteries of YES, an exuberant perpetrator of YES.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In indigenous cultures from West Africa to Finland to China, folklore describes foxes as crafty tricksters with magical powers. Sometimes they’re thought of as perpetrators of pranks, but more often they are considered helpful messengers or intelligent allies. I propose that you regard the fox as your spirit creature for the foreseeable future. I think you will benefit from the influence of your inner fox—the wild part of you that is ingenious, cunning and resourceful.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): “The uni-

We need your support Help us continue reporting on important issues The Chico News & Review’s wants to ensure that our team of dedicated journalists can continue working through one of the worst economic and health crises of the past century. With your recurring or one-time contribution, the CN&R can continue our award-winning coverage on the topics that impact the residents of Butte County, including COVID-19, the arts, homelessness, the fight for equality, and wildfire recovery and prevention.

You can make a donation Online at: chico.newsreview.com/support Or mail a check to: Chico News & Review 353 E. Second St. Chico, CA 95928 (Please include return address, email address, and do not send cash.)

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verse conspires in your favor,” writes author Neale Donald Welsch. “It consistently places before you the right and perfect people, circumstances and situations with which to answer life’s only question: ‘Who are you?’” In my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, I say much the same thing, although I mention two further questions that life regularly asks, which are: 1. What can you do next to liberate yourself from some of your suffering? 2. What can you do next to reduce the suffering of others, even by a little? As you enter a phase when you’ll get ample cosmic help in diminishing suffering and defining who you are, I hope you meditate on these questions every day.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The poet Anne Sexton

wrote a letter to a Benedictine monk whose real identity she kept secret from the rest of us. She told him, “There are a few great souls in my life. They are not many. They are few. You are one.” In this spirit, Leo, and in accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to take an inventory of the great souls in your life: the people you admire and respect and learn from and feel grateful for; people with high integrity and noble intentions; people who are generous with their precious gifts. When you’ve compiled your list, I encourage you to do as Sexton did: Express your appreciation; perhaps even send no-stringsattached gifts. Doing these things will have a profoundly healing effect on you.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “It’s a tempta-

tion for any intelligent person to try to murder the primitive, emotive, appetitive self,” writes author Donna Tartt. “But that is a mistake. Because it is dangerous to ignore the existence of the irrational.” I’m sending this message out to you, Virgo, because in the coming weeks it will be crucial for you to honor the parts of your life that can’t be managed through rational thought alone. I suggest you have sacred fun as you exult in

Sharman Apt Russell provides counsel that I think you should consider adopting in the coming days. The psychospiritual healing you require probably won’t be available through the normal means, so some version of her proposal may be useful: “We may need to be cured by flowers. We may need to strip naked and let the petals fall on our shoulders, down our bellies, against our thighs. We may need to lie naked in fields of wildflowers. We may need to walk naked through beauty. We may need to walk naked through color. We may need to walk naked through scent.”

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Thursday

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): As Scorpio

author Margaret Atwood reminds us, “Water is not a solid wall; it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it.” According to my reading of the astrological omens, being like water will be an excellent strategy for you to embrace during the coming weeks. “Water is patient,” Atwood continues. “Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In

a letter to a friend in 1856, Sagittarian poet Emily Dickinson confessed she was feeling discombobulated because of a recent move to a new home. She hoped she would soon regain her bearings. “I am out with lanterns, looking for myself,” she quipped, adding that she couldn’t help laughing at her disorientation. She signed the letter “From your mad Emilie,” intentionally misspelling her own name. I’d love it if you approached your current doubt and uncertainty with a similar light-heartedness and poise. (PS: Soon after writing this letter, Dickinson began her career as a poet in earnest, reading extensively and finishing an average of one poem every day for many years.)

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Now

is a favorable time to celebrate both life’s changeableness and your own. The way we are all constantly called on to adjust to unceasing transformations can sometimes be a wearying chore, but I suspect it could be at least interesting and possibly even exhilarating for you in the coming weeks. For inspiration, study this message from the “Welcome to Night Vale” podcast: “You are never the same twice, and much of your unhappiness comes from trying to pretend that you are. Accept that you are different each day, and do so joyfully, recognizing it for the gift it is. Work within the desires and goals of the person you are currently, until you aren’t that person anymore.”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Aquarian

author Toni Morrison described two varieties of loneliness. The first “is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up; holding, holding on, this motion smooths and contains the rocker.” The second “is a loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive, on its own.” Neither kind is better or worse, of course, and both are sometimes necessary as a strategy for self-renewal—as a means for deepening and fine-tuning one’s relationship with oneself. I recommend either or both for you in the coming weeks.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): England’s

Prince Charles requires his valet to iron his shoelaces and put toothpaste on his toothbrush and wash all of his clothes by hand. I could conceivably interpret the current astrological omens to mean that you should pursue similar behavior in the coming weeks. I could, but I won’t. Instead, I will suggest that you solicit help about truly important matters, not meaningless trivia like shoelace ironing. For example, I urge you to ask for the support you need as you build bridges, seek harmony and make interesting connections.

www.RealAstrology.com for Rob Brezsny’s EXPANDED WEEKLY AUDIO HOROSCOPES and DAILY TEXT MESSAGE HOROSCOPES. The audio horoscopes are also available by phone at 1-877-873-4888.

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